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Tennessee Basketball: Newcomer Leads Way To Victory

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The Vols Received A Boost From A Position That Needs To Improve In 2017

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Florida
Rick Barnes is doing good things on Rocky Top.
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, jet lag does not pose a problem for Chris Darrington and the Univeristy of Tennessee men’s basketball team. The laws of time and physics do not affect those in the service of the mighty orange.

JUCO transfer and guard Chris Darrington scored a team-high 19 points and led the way to an 86-79 exhibition vicotry in Barcelona, Spain yesterday - less than twenty-four hours after completing the flight to Barcelona.

The 10-day European tour has the Big Orange visiting Barcelona, Valencia, and Paris. They will play a total of three exhibition games in three different cities during their time overseas.

The Vols dominated the first half of the game, compiling a 14-point lead before the third period began.

Then the Catalan All-Stars proceeded to nail seven 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the thrid quarter en route to a 21-5 run. They cut Tennessee’s lead all the way down to three, but could never get that definitive run going to put them in the lead.

Much credit also goes to the forward duo of junior Kyle Alexander and freshman Derrick Walker, who combined for 20 points and 22 rebounds to help lift the Vols in the win.

But the performance of Darrington is the story here. The Vols’ struggles in the backcourt were pretty obvious last season and were a big factor in the team’s inconsistent play.

Hopefully Darrington can either come in and provide some stability at the position or push Jordan Bone and the other guards in order to accelerate their progression and fill their potential.

One of the many great things about head coach Rick Barnes is that he’s honest and not afraid to call players out when he seeks improvement from them. He made it very clear several times last year that the Vols need to get better in the backcourt.

The range of Darrington and the speed of Bone could provide devastating options for the Vols. They could potentially become one of the better guard combos in recent history.

Despite the outcome, it is obvious that Barnes is laying his foundation and the future looks very bright for men’s basketball on Rocky Top.